When I hear the term “Intelligent FP&A.” or “iFP&A,” the image that immediately pops into my mind is a split screen of an accountant with green eyeshades on the left and a beautifully created robust dashboard on the right. I believe we are not just simply in the midst of a profound transformation in the FP&A world, but that we sit at a true inflection point – a point of precarious balance, if you will, between what has been and what will be.
The battle to acquire access to our data is, for the most part, complete. Having access to data is no longer the goal, but is now an expected and basic requirement for any organization that expects to thrive in the 21st century. Our current goal is to convert our data into actionable insights that will allow us to derive knowledge that we can then communicate, explain, and share with our business partners. (And certainly, master data management is, and will always be, important.) This will enable them to accelerate sound decision-making, which is required in an increasingly uncertain and volatile business environment.
FP&A is the nexus of the organization. We touch all parts of the enterprise: the business units, the Board, investor relations, the C-suite, HR, sales, and marketing. We are the component of the organization that can and should drive the change necessary to flourish in this brave new world.
The advances in technology we have witnessed over the past decade provide the tools to do the work and analysis we previously thought impossible due to the constraints of time, money, and access.
Over the course of this blog series, we will address many of the key elements of intelligent FP&A and its impact on the organization in terms of people, processes, and technology.
I look forward to addressing topics including:
- Instant planning
- Connecting finance
- Consuming data
- The future of FP&A
- FP&A and new technology
- How to enable zero-based budgeting
- Collaborative planning
- Integrated financial planning
- Driving better planning metrics
- The Importance of analysis
- FP&A versus BP&A
- Dynamic planning
- Leveraging Big Data
We will examine how access to instant insights will allow FP&A to drive action – rather than just generating reports that consume time, money, and resources without discernible benefits (low or no ROI). We’ll find out how the development of a single platform of ERP and planning can create the sought-after Holy Grail of business: a single version of the truth with no data replication, easily available to all.
It is becoming increasingly important to move towards more data visualization. With an increasingly broader audience to interact with, FP&A has to become more adaptive, creative, and flexible in how it tells its story.
What will be the impact of technologies like blockchain, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and in-memory computing on the FP&A function? Are we talking about Google or Google Glass?
The evolution from the old paradigms to the new will place an even higher premium on the ability of organizations to manage change. This is when it is important to break out your dog-eared book of critical acronyms. In a world with a high degree of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity), with the goal to become a FAST (Flexibility, Accuracy, Shared Methodology, and Transparency) organization, you need to be able to score high on the ADKAR (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement) scale.
In addition to this series, we will be hosting a number of events all over the world, discussing and diving deeper into these critical issues.
In addition to our Global FP&A Roundtable series, we hope to see you at SAP Financials 2018 EMEA in Prague, October 16–18 and SAP Financial Excellence Forum in New York City in the fall.